The Features Bring The Wilderness In With Them
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 29, 2011 4:20PM
The Features' latest album, Wilderness, is on a label run by the Kings of Leon. This makes total sense. If Kings of Leon are to atone for their sins against music we can think of no better penance than to expose the firebrand that is The Features to the wider public.
The Features are an aberration. They stubbornly insist on creating timeless rock and/or roll that bites with ferocity instead of succumbing to toothless clichés. The funny thing is that there is a polite Southern charm inviting you in to each measure only to have a well worn work-boot kick you firmly in the teeth every time you lean in to listen. And, of course, this is all steeped at the bottom of a lovely glass of sweet tea.
This is to say that The Features are adept at seduction, brutality and sweet cuddles; all at the same time.
Wilderness is a solid album from beginning to end, and the band maintains a high level of intensity without suffering from burnout. This is accomplished through a subtle push and pull within the songs allowing enough room for the music to expand and contract just enough to keep the threat of monotony at bay. Take "Rambo" as an example; the tempo never lets up -- pushed along by an insistent ride cymbal and a guitar line that marches ever forward -- but its advance is tempered by flourishes of organ and a vocal line that knows when to fall back just long enough to keep things feeling comfortable.
There is something deeply old-fashioned about Wilderness, in fact The Features as a band is a bit of a throwback, and there's an unblinking honesty at work that makes the music both easy to categorize but incredibly difficult to pigeonhole. We could call it classic rock with a taste of southern boogie but that wouldn't really tell the whole story since there's an indie edge to each and every tune. Wilderness isn't going to blow any minds but we think it's going to win the band a bunch more fans.
The Features play Bottom Lounge on September 9